I had never been a fan of Mantua. I acquired this loco based on two things: 1) price had come down to a 'why not' level and 2) Heard good things about the "Mantua Classics" line post-takeover. I have to say the price was right and so were the folks recommending it. While not comparable to a high-end loco in detail, it's also not comparable in price. For only $80 with 90% of the detail, I think it represents a great cost/value equation. I was pleasantly surprised by operating characteristics. Very quiet operation (unlike my Mantua's of the past), good pull, good traction. DCC-read and decoder installation was fairly easy. Operation after decoder install is even better (as I've come to expect of all locos in general). My only con is that mine is the 'no-tender' version with side tanks. These tanks pop off rather easily with any but the most ginger handling. In my case, where the locos are rarely handled off-track, simply moving from staging to running to roundhouse and back, that won't be an issue. For anyone with a more high-touch operating environment, it might be.